Elisabeth Goes

Elisabeth and Albrecht Goes

Elisabeth Goes, née Schneider, was born in Bietigheim, Württemberg in 1911. When she was five, her family moved to the small village of Dörzbach in the Hohenlohe district where she spent six years of her childhood. The neighboring village of Dörzbach had a synagogue. Elisabeth thus already had contact with Jews in her childhood. After completing school, she was certified as a preschool teacher. In 1933, Elisabeth Schneider married the theologian and author Albrecht Goes, who took his first parish in Unterbalzheim near Illertissen that same year. In 1938, the couple moved to Gebersheim, an idyllic Swabian village with just 500 residents, which is now a suburb of the large district seat of Leonberg. Their daughters Christin (1934) and Brigitte (1936) had already been born. Rose was born in Gebersheim in 1939.

Elisabeth Goes had married a man with whom she maintained a close bond her entire life. Albrecht Goes had begun to abhor National Socialism and its anti-Semitism in particular very early. During his days as an undergraduate student from 1926 to 1930, he had discovered his important teachers, Romano Guardini as well as the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Troubled by the Nazi’s anti-Semitic barbarism, Goes wrote Martin Buber in August of 1934 and asked him for advice on the amount of responsibility he had to accept and expect of himself as a young pastor in the face of such brutal resolve. Buber’s terse answer, You should not hold back, was a lodestar for the pastor couple’s conscience from that point forward.

In this spirit, Elisabeth Goes provided the Jewish married couple Max and Ines Krakauer refuge in the parsonage in Gebersheim from August 22 through September 20, 1944. This was not the only act of civil courage on the part of this pastor’s wife with three small children in Gebersheim and a husband away at war. She later hid yet another two Jews in succession, a Ms. Braun, actually named Ella Friedemann, and a Ms. Wolff (a pseudonym).

In 1953, Albrecht Goes was released fromthe ministry except for periodic preaching in order to be able to pursue his writing. The family moved to Stuttgart-Rohr in 1954. Albrecht Goes died on February 23, 2000 in Stuttgart and Elisabeth Goes on August 23, 2007.

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